Amalarius of Metz (d. c. 850) was one of the great writers of the Carolingian age. He participated actively in political and religious life in the first three decades of the ninth century, and was particularly involved in reforming the liturgy. Amalarius was a disciple of Alcuin of York (d. 804), abbot of St Martin’s in Tours and one of Charlemagne’s closest advisors. Amalarius, too, was in the service of Charlemagne (d. 814), and was sent as an ambassador both to Constantinople and to Pope Gregory IV (r. 827–44) in Rome.
Amalarius is best known for his liturgical treatise De Ecclesiasticis officiis (On ecclesiastical offices), which he dedicated to Charlemagne’s son and successor, Louis the Pious (b. 778, d. 840). In four books, Amalarius described and explained different aspects of the liturgy, commenting on the allegorical meanings of various aspects of the service. Amalarius’s work survived in a large number of manuscripts. This copy was made in the royal abbey of St Pierre of Corbie, near Amiens, founded by the Merovingian queen Balthild (d. 680), the wife of Clovis II.
This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.
- Article by:
- Samu Niskanen
- History and learning, Making manuscripts
Samu Niskanen discusses the movement of manuscript texts and letter collections between England and France in the early Middle Ages.